National Shorts

Teen Mania Turmoil Continues


(WNS)–One of only six independent board members resigned last week from Teen Mania, one of the nation’s largest Christian youth ministries.  Nathan Moody, a scientist at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, would not comment on why he chose to step down, but his decision came in the wake of a foreclosure on the ministry’s property and a WORLD report detailing some of Teen Mania’s ongoing management and financial challenges. Following the story’s publication last month, Moody requested and received a copy of the comprehensive third-party audit, conducted before he joined the board, mentioned in WORLD’s report.


Former Covenant Life Church Leader Convicted of Child Molestation


(WNS)–A Maryland jury found Nathaniel Morales guilty of five counts of child molestation on May 15, bringing to a close a case that highlighted the responsibility church leaders have to report suspected abuse to the police.  The five-man, seven-woman jury found the former pastor guilty of molesting three teenage boys in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Morales, 56, faces up to 85 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 14.  In emotional testimony that began Monday, the victims recounted how Morales used his position as a trusted member of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md., to get them alone and force them into unwanted sexual relationships. According to WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Arlington, Va., Morales led Bible studies, directed worship teams, and attended sleepovers with teen boys he was supposed to be mentoring.  Child advocacy groups said the pastoral team at Covenant Life helped enable Morales’ abuse by not reporting allegations to the police in the mid-1990s.  During the trial, former Covenant Life pastor Grant Layman admitted he should have reported what he knew.


NRB Splits with Publisher over Pro-Gay Book


(WNS)–The publisher of numerous evangelical bestsellers has resigned from the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) over a controversial new book published by the same company under a different trade name.  The split between WaterBrook Multnomah and NRB, reported by Christianity Today, took place after NRB President and CEO Jerry Johnson confronted the publishing group about the content of the God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines.  Convergent Books, Vines’ publisher, is under the same corporate umbrella and leadership as WaterBrook Multnomah. Throughout the years, WaterBrook Multnomah has published books by evangelical authors such as John Piper, David Jeremiah, Kay Arthur, and Randy Alcorn.  Convergent and WaterBrook Multnomah are imprints, or trade names, of the same publishing division owned by Penguin Random House, run by President Steven W. Cobb. In April, Cobb explained to WORLD the difference between the two imprints. WaterBrook Multnomah caters to a conservative evangelical audience, but Convergent targets readers who are “open in their approach to issues that face the church today,” Cobb said.

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